Vivian Salama at PostGlobal

Vivian Salama

USA/Middle East

Vivian Salama is an award winning reporter, producer and blogger. Currently based in Lahore, Pakistan, she has reported for various publications from across the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Balkans, the United States and North and South Korea. She has also appeared as a commentator on the BBC, France24, South African Broadcasting Corp., TVNZ, NPR and as a reporter for Voice of America radio. Her byline has appeared in numerous publications including Newsweek, USA Today, the International Herald Tribune, the National, Jerusalem Post, and the Daily Star. Salama has an MA in Islamic Politics from Columbia University and she previously worked as a lecturer of international journalism at Rutgers University. Close.

Vivian Salama

USA/Middle East

Vivian Salama is an award-winning reporter, producer and blogger. Currently based in Lahore, Pakistan, she has reported for various publications from across the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Balkans, the United States and North and South Korea. more »

Main Page | Vivian Salama Archives | PostGlobal Archives


Track Record Doesn't Inspire Confidence

In 1892, the writer of the Pledge of Allegiance decided against including "equality" along with "liberty and justice for all." In today's post-9/11 world, have we still failed to grasp what this concept means? I have watched some of the most patriotic Middle Eastern immigrants I know wrongly accused of crimes -- later shrugged off as intelligence "mistakes."

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All Comments (94)

Asim:

Hondo,
Sorry,but you are an empty head:according to u,jews can return to Palestine after "two thousand"years-but Pals can not return after 60 years?? Pals lived in Palestine for over 5000 years,since the Arab Cananites settled it long before jews ever existed.
clearly u repeat empty talk which is no more than zionst propaganda-but with no historical or political substance-and it is a waste of time to try and debate with some one like u.
Take my word-as a student of history-your israel will be no longer in no time:it is an artifical entity living on coerced US taxpayers money and AIPAC lies. It really is better if those imported jewish foreigners depart, they have no chance in hell to keep their racist apartheid fascist militaristic theocracy while the Pals live in refugee camps or in jewish concentration camps. It is just untenable-just Ask Nelson Mendala and Jimmy Carter.End of this sterile monolgue.

Raj:

Asim,
Did Babar, Bin Qasim, Ghauri, Ghajanavi and some more came to India after getting an invitation from Hindus?? You talk so conveniently that most of subcontinent Muslims are converts (which is true), but conveniently ignore how and why the show began. Yes, casteism is bad and needs to be fixed. But look around and you will find some sort of groupism (sect, difference of geography etc.) in almost every religion. It is true, majority of sub-continental Muslims are converts, but saying they all found Islam very enlightening well no comment on that. But in reality the conversion was combination of fear, benefits (to avoid additional taxes) and self choice. But do not forget to read first line. Jerusalem is important to all three abrahmic faiths, where do you want Jews to go?

Anonymous:

Ben Graham,
you are suspect yourself and selfserving as usual.

Ben Graham:

Whether it is Sirhan Sirhan striking a blow for Palestine in Los Angeles or student pilots incinerating 3,000 people in New York, some Arabs living in the United States have engaged in violent acts that warrant the suspicion that other Arabs in the U.S. may be similarly motivated and equipped.

It is unfortunate that innocent Arabs are viewed as potential terrorists. However, it would be more unfortunate if law enforcement officials were to ignore the fact that similar motivations exist among some Arabs living in our country.

In a nutshell, if black churches were threatened to be burned down in my community, I believe that it would be incumbent upon law enforcement officials to kick off their work by inteviewing white locals who drive pickups emblazoned with confederate-flag bumper stickers. The fact that some innocent, patriotic, white rednecks might be questioned by police, and feel disenfranchised in the process, does not veto investigative work based upon proof and logic.

I understand the angst of Ms. Salama as expressed in her article. Her angst is honest and hearfelt. However, her angst is no substitute for the proof and logic of good investigative work necessary to stop future acts of violence. Perhaps when her community takes the laboring oar to renounce and take concrete steps to stop the violence, then the suspicion that so many Americans share will transform into admiration and goodwill for a job well done.

Hondo :

Asim : Get over it. There is no occupied Palestine; never was; never will be. There is only liberated Israel. You condem The world for creating Israel and yet condem Israel for not complying with the same world's resolutions. As you well know the so called Jewish gangs, such as Irgun were created soley in response to The Grand Mufti's Muslim gangs and the irregular miliitas from Jordan, Syria,Eygpt,Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia etc.,etc. who were hell bent on ethnically cleaning the Jews, by killing them any way they could. To be a thief you must steal something belonging to someone else. Your so called Palestians had nothing to steal. Now your Buds are in happy Arab lands enjoying the fruits of living with happy Arab bros and undoubtably taking part in all the enjoyable tasks and rituals of belonging to the Umma. I think they have their cmpensation.

Asim:

Hondo,
Just because some Jews were born in occupied Palestine does not make them legitimate Palestine citizens:a child born into a family of thieves in a stolen house is still a thief-a child thief nevertheless,all the same.Palestinians who were ethnically cleanesed by terrorist jewish gangs-Hagana,Argun, shtern-are still living in refugee camps since 1947-they will return to their stolen homes sooner or later-every new generation of Palestinians feel mch stronger about the right of return than their fathers,unlike the chidren thieves,the Pals have a right,while the only right the child thief has is jail or peaeful departure-perhaps to Germany who should set up a jewish state on its territory as a compensation for the holocaust-which the Pals have nothing to do with.

Chama:

Lee Holmes : Well written post.

Lee Holmes:

If these are ''scary times'',then they are here because it is this self-same Muslim community that has done the most to contribute to this fear by either it's silence in confronting radicalism within its religion, or worse, in its support of it. We recall the large marches in Dearborn Michigan last summer by American Muslim Shia supporters of the terrorist organization HEZBOLLAH, speeches by Muslim student leaders in California universities [UC Irvine and UCLA being the most notorious],and remarks made by the heads of major Muslim ''rights'' organizations [CAIR comes to mind here],all filled with rank,anti-Semitic invective which equally has no place inside of this nations democracy and creates the same fear that you are observing as a portion of governments demands for enhanced national security in a post 9/11 world.
The more accomodation allowed Islam in the public sphere, more, in fact, granted to this than other religions,[and more than Islamic nations grant any other religion themselves],the more is demanded. Female headscarves lead to footwash basins and prayer rugs,and places in public schools set aside for religious observances not granted to any other religion, which in turn lead to demands that Islamic service drivers not carry passengers with seeing-eye dogs or alcohol and demand that 24-hour-per/day manufacturing assembly be shut down in order
to accomodate prayer. Those private employers who feel, and public institutions which are, bound by the 1962 USSC decision that a ''wall of separation''does indeed block the religious from the public sphere, are faced with accuasations of ''Islamophobia''[a term which by itself creates fear and divisiveness],if they do not cave to the CAIRS of the nation which themselves are run by leaders who have had patent,proven ties to terrorist activity. A recent PEW poll finds that a solid one-fourth of younger American Muslim males allows for terrorism as a device to deal with those who ''insult Islam''. That is far too many.
American prisons have become virtual breeding grounds for Islamic radicalism. In Oakland,Ca;,a splinter sect of the Black Muslims, engaged in setting up Sharia Law within a portion of America, engaging in intimidation, assault,and terror before settling upon murder as a means to settle dispute,in an exact copy of what the Taliban has been pulling in Afghanistan.[and all the while being funded by taxpayers in a gross breach of the separation between church and state]. Meanwhile,a Muslim pilot school in New York,again funded by taxpayers,comes under fire after allowing students to wear shirts with ''Intifada''[violent uprising] printed upon these, as well as the findings by human rights organizations including Human Rights Watch that the Islamic practice of ''honour killing''aimed at females is moving West, appearing in European nations with large Islamic emigree populations and has landed inside of our shores.[with specific instances occurring in Kentucky last year]. A vastly underreported crime,there may be even more instances of it than what we have been hearing from the press.
Preparations for attacks inside of America have gone from the ill-prepared and arcane[the bumbling ''cell phone terrorists''in Illinois and Florida],to the more organized[the Ft.Dix plot and the Virginia wilderness paramilitary training sites]. What all have in common is that all involved Islamic immigrants or recent converts to that religion. A new study by the DEA finds that al Qaeda is linking with members of the Mexican drug trade in order to gain access to the US across our southern border.
Enough is enough. There is absolutely no conflict or discrepancy in the desire that American Muslims can actually link their religiously held beliefs along with the firm requirement that as Americans,they assist in any and all ways in protecting this nation from ''all enemies,foreign and domestic''.If Catholics,Jews,Protestants,Atheists,and Agnostics can do it,so can Muslims. More involvement on their portion,less silence and acquiescence,[or worse, loudly calling for ''jihad''] will lead to a diminishing need for overweening government spying and scrutinization,and less suspicion and fear.

Cayambe:

My goodness Ms. Salama, your smile, your eyes, you are an extraordinarily beautiful and attractive young woman. My dreams of being young once more are rekindled.

A prior poster has made the correct point regarding the absence of “equality” from the pledge but it is worth making again. The principle of equality is explicit in the text of the Constitution of the United States as well as in the Declaration of Independence that preceded it. Our failure then, if that be the proper word to use, lay in the selective application of this text to the population. We are no longer so selective but some still remains, such as in Guantanamo.

I would imagine that both Hillary and Barack would take issue with your characterization of whom they represent. If Hillary only represents women, she will lose. If Barack only represents African-Americans, he will lose. Indeed, each of them would claim to represent all Americans. Nor is this unprecedented. Geraldine Ferraro ran for Vice-President and Elisabeth Dole for President. Jesse Jackson ran for President as did Al Sharpton and Alan Keys. Furthermore, General Powell might well have won a Presidential election had he been willing to subject his family to the process. He had all of the appeal of Mr. Obama, and a far greater degree of experience. I would have voted for him gladly.

I’m not sure you have quite grasped the concept of equality in the pre-9/11 world. The sense in which we are held to be “equal” has to do with our political rights, our civil rights, and the application of law on us, i.e. our standing in a Court of Law. Surveillance, by its nature, is unequal in its application. To be applied equally in the sense you seem to use it would require surveillance of all to accomplish surveillance of one. I’m not quite sure what it is about surveillance that you find “undignified”, or whether the indignity accrues to the surveillor or surveillee.

Actually your generation could do a bit more than you suggest. There remain quite a few Japanese Americans who actually experienced the WWII internment camps and remember them quite well. They still have stories to tell. It is of course, a terrible blot on our record; something for which shame remains the only appropriate reaction by any American citizen, or institution for that matter. The President should not have done it, the Congress should not have permitted or funded it, and, above all, the Supreme Court should have found it thoroughly unconstitutional.

Guantanamo today does not really provide a parallel example, as it raises many more and different issues. What can be said is that we may all take a measure of pride in how our present Supreme Court has performed with respect to the various classes of terrorist detainees. In most instances it has effectively gutted the excess Presidential Powers asserted by the Bush Administration as well as the “Special Laws” devised by Congress to enable trials by Military Commissions. The Court has proven to be conservative in the best sense of the word, which is to conserve the rights and liberties of the individual from unauthorized encroachment of the government.

Focusing on the wrong suspect is going to happen for good reasons and bad ones. It is incidental what the suspect’s last name is. Before the good doctor you mention, we had the poor bugger the FBI tagged as the Atlanta Olympic bomber for more than just a few days. Eventually they got around to Eric Rudolf who eluded them for a few years. These were all white guys, rednecks mostly. Then there is that lawyer out in Oregon or Washington who supposedly left his fingerprint at the scene of one of the train bombings in Madrid… turned out to be a total screw up. We have several other cases of the CIA picking the wrong guy to kidnap and render. The German guy who got kidnapped in Macedonia is one, the Canadian who got shipped off to Syria going thru New York is another.

In reality, our intelligence is not great, in fact, it is downright lousy, as you and everybody else knows full well. We are in Iraq, aren’t we? Did we have any good idea of what we were getting into? No. We had lousy intelligence, we still have lousy intelligence, in Iraq, in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, and in Iran.

They do the best they can, which is not all that good, to keep you and us safe. Because they are not all that good, they will continue to make mistakes. Like all bureaucracies they will shift and squirm to pass mistakes on to someone else. Middle eastern looking people are going to have it a little rougher on security than the rest of us for a while and that is tough for most. You need only smile sweetly and easy street shall be yours :o)

Pliny the Elder:

Mohammad Allam : My G-D, you mean the Arab oil lobby combined with American drilling interests ? How did you find out ?

Hondo:

Asim: My bro, The Israeli Jews cannot go home; they are already home. Substantially most Israelis were born in Israel.By the same token the Arabs who left Israel are home too. They are living with their Arab brothers as we speak. I don't know how happy they are;but they had somewhere to go. I'm sure the Lebanese really like them according to reports. Now Asim I must defer to your judgment. If all Islamic nations are dictorships, I bow to your knowlege. However, since you must be a Muslim to hold power and authority, and must defer to the local Mufti, Iman, or Junior or senior clerics to do much, lets just call these countries theocratic dictatorships. We split the baby, right ? I still think Islamic thinking is theocratic, racist and umma leaning. Don't you want the Islamic caliphate Asim ? Time for the concert Asim my bro. Later.

Jai Khosla:

Asim

Have you no shame that you associate a pedophile like Muhammad and the evil god he created by promoting his family deity Allah to a supreme deity he called Allah with the true God who is Loving and Merciful and who if He/She/It wanted to send us a message would deliver it to us personally rather choose a criminal like Muhammad as His/Her/Its medium?

Jai Khosla:

Asim

Muslims agree to plebiscites only when they are sure of a win. The criminal Jinnah refused to hold plebiscites in Punjab and Sindh. Sindh had over 40% non-Muslims, mostly Hindus and Punjab had over 45% Hindus and Sikhs. The Muslims in Kashmir never even asked for a plebiscite. It was the Un that asked for one. The J & K assembly ratified the joining of J & K to India. So the accession is final.

The trouble with Muslims who follow the evil cult that the pedophile prophet Muhammad founded is that their only loyalty is to Arabia and the Arabic cult. As Naipaul correctly put it " A convert to Muhammadanism has to forget his ancestry."

Jai Khosla:

Asim

India is not occupying Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and it joined India according to the rules laid down at Partition: contiguous states could decide through their rulers whether to join India or Pakistan.

The ruler of J& K decided to join India and the population of J & K was 40% non-Muslim. The UN recognized the rulers decision and the first clause was that Pakistan must withdraw its army from Kashmir which Pakistan has yet to do. The plebiscite issue is a moot issue because Pakistan did not withdraw its forces and now it must but no plebiscite will be held.

Pakistan was made for Muslims of India and they all must be given the right to go to Pakistan. The Nehru-Liaqat Pact must be revoked so that Muslims living in India can go to their promised land and live in an Islamic society such as peaceful Pakistan.

Partition must be completed and that includes Pakistan vacating J & K those Muslims in India who wish to go to Pakistan be allowed to do so.

Regarding Indians in Arab countries : they are slave labor. Slavery is permitted in Islam. Muhammad, your pedophile prophet had slaves including Rayhana and Maria who were his slave concubines. They were also teenagers kept to satisfy the aged prophet's lust for children.

Hindus do not worship cows and snakes. they rever the cow because it is very important to their sustenance.

Did peprophet not prescribe camel urine for illnesses?

Sooner or later Partition will be completed and Pakistan will break up or will have to withdraw from Kashmir.

it is true most Muslims are descendants of Hindus but no Muslim in the subcontinent will admit to it. They all claim mid east ancestry.

Most conversions took place during the time of Aurangzeb when he imposed the jizya on all Hindus and the poor Hindus could not pay so they converted.

Regarding cow worship, even if that had been true it is betetr to worship a cow that provides milk for sustenance than to worship an eveil arabic god like Allah who tells Muslim men to beat their wives for disobedience.

By worshipping this evil arabic god Allah Muslims insult the true God five times a day.

Johnathan Pollard the Spy:

Ted Baines the empty head,
Don't you feel ashamed to repeat your recycled lies regardless of the subject debated on this froum? Am sure posters remember your name well:the one liner cut/paste message of hate and especially lies.How about making a positive contribution to this decent forum? Am sure you can get permission form your masters at AIPAC and Wolfwitz.

Asim:

Jai Khosla,
Your ignorance is appalling: there are no imported Muslims in the subcontinent, thre are indigenous Indians who choose to convert to Islam rather than staying as heathen worshipping cows and snakes. Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are Indian Muslims-a minority in India-choose to exercise their right to self determination in 1947-lest they be enslaved by the Hindu majority. So Indian Muslims living on their own ancestral Indian homeland are not foreign occupiers-as are Indian Xtians. Yes millions of Indian Muslims moved out to Pakistan/Bangladesh as Hindus moved in the opposite direction-both moved voluntarily. The big issue is the Indian occupation of Muslim majority Kashmir who are being denied self determination since 1947 against all UN resolution-the same as the jewish occupation of Palestine and the denial of self determination to the Palestinian people since 1947. Hence, your lies about "jews of Arabia" to gain favor with jews-vulgar hypocrisy-don't try this undignified tactics.

I for one have great respect for Ghandi and the Indian people and their democray, but I have a problem with narrow minded racists and haters like you-if Muslims disliked Indians, why do the Arab Gulf States employ hundreds of thousands of Indians who contribute billions of remittances to the Indian economy?

Snoop:

In the US all serial killers are white males. Why dont we profile white males?

potrero hill man:

i have read the comments and i am amazed that so many people missed the point of the article.
i am american born of european background. i have and have had friends and acquaintances of various minority groups. i know from them that america, despite its virtue, remains a deeply racist culture.
the writers who blame "the arabs" are spewing racism. the writers who justify racial or ethnic profiling because it is "effective" have no idea what they are talking about.
i have an american born associate of christian palestinian background, who is routinely subjected to extra police scrutinity and racist comments by his fellow citizens. how can we expect him to feel. if we are hated by others, maybe there are reasons.

mohammad allam:

Some time i wonder about the legislation of usa and ponder is any particular group captured american political establishment who want to destroy american democratic establishment anf american credibility around the world or who want to use american power for own sake? if what i am thinkiing is true then god protect the liberty of american citizen and american establisment.

Sammer Muhammad:

Being searched in america as an american citizen in the airport is fine by most muslems.But when the darn "random" search of a U.S. citizen takes 7 hours I usually flip on them. I am a citizen, born here and traveling with my mother, wife and kids. How in the he$# am I a terror risk? I mean, all they have to do is run a check on my social security number and they can clearly see nothing is a matter. And usually when I am searched, it is by some dumb 20 year old whose education level may be high school at best. If this is how Americas security is to be maintained and upheld, by interrogating its own citizens for hours at a time, by young kids getting paid maybe 6.15 an hour, then I think Homeland security should get off its a@# and figure this thing out. Oh. Im sorry. All of our money and intelligence officers are in Iraq. How sad!!!
Impeach Bush.

Ted Baines:

It is crucial that we remember why Muslims are violence prone. The reason is that the founder of Islam, Muhammad, was a violent man who did not hesitate to lie, steal and kill. Muslims are required to follow his example and many still do. Until Muslims universally condemn Muhammad, Muslims will continue to be the main architects of terrorism.

Not all Muslims are terrorists because not all Muslims practice true Islam. Those that practice true Islam are also supporters or practitioners of terrorism.

NewHope:

This is a tough situation, but the facts are that many of the terrorist have been good neigbors. I recall one of the 9-11 terrorists lived next door and invited kids to birthday parties, etc. Then he got the call from BinLaden and there he was like a robot a terrorist. It's better to be safe and check everyone.

Jai Khosla:

Asim

Muslims ahve stolen land from non-Muslims.

Sindh and Punjab in Pakistan had huge non-Muslim majorities. Hidnus and Sikhs were driven out and Muslims stoe their land.

The Jammu and Kshmir state India is partly illegally occupied by the Muhammadan Republic of Pakistan. Muhammadans again stole land from non-Muslims.

Bangladesh in 1947( then East Pakistan) had over 35% Hindus. 3 million were killed in 1971 and 10 million Hindus fled to India. Again theft of non-Muslim lands by Muslims.

The most egregious example is that of The Jews of SArabia. they were a huge minority in Arabia before Muhammad killed thousands of Jewish males, stole their land and sold their widows and orphans into slavery.

This is Islam for you--a cult founded by a murderous bandit and thief whose followers continue his tradition.

Asim:

raycharlescouldseethat,
1// Many Muslims were among the victims of the 911 on WTC-but the media is silent and muted on this issue-WHY? To show that Muslims can only be terrorists but not victims.

2// Muslims have time and again condemned terrorism publicly-but essentially they are powerless: they either lives under dictatorships in the Muslim world or as discriminated against minorities in the west and looked at as suspects. Why don't the American people speak up against Israeli atrocities and apartheid jewish theocracy in Palestine?? I can not complain, the American people are speaking loudly on the disastrous war on Iraq-essentially promoted by AIPAC and Israel's supporters within the Bush gang, lover boy Wolfawitz is only one example.

3// Why persons, any persons commit terrorism? We should reflect deeply on this question and we should also ask why there is no clear definition of what terrorism is? Is it killing innocent civilians? If so, then nuking Hiroshima and Negasaki was actually the most horrendous act of terrorism in human history.

Jewish ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by terrorist zionist gangs in 1947/8 such as Hagana and Shtern was grand terrorism-or did the jews grab Palestine by offering the Palestinians flowers?
Terrorism should be condemned regardless of why it occurs: but knowing why helps pull the rug from under the feet of radicals who use grievances as an excuse-such as the (A)the unjustified war on Iraq which diverted the attention from chasing the terrorists in Afghanistan and generated more terrorism and (B) the vulgar and blind US support to the jewish theocracy occupying and expanding its cancerous settlements in Palestine-contrary to US national intersts.Even when the Israeli air force bombed in full day light the US Liberty in 1967 and deliberately murdered scores of US Navy officers-the air waves gone silent on this terrorist Israeli act-considering that the planes and ammunition that killed those Americans were

Anonymous:

fred,
your stupidity and naivate are endless:just tell us who opened the doors for you or your father etc... to immigrate to America? Was not that generous too? Look,apart from the American Indians who live on reservation as the case is with the Palestinians-evry one in America is an immigrant-so don't sound like you are admiiting immigrants to your own house-you are just another immigrant.

Asim:

Hondo,
Every word in my above post is an unequivocal fact-and it's an abstract of untold amount of jewish barbarities and atrocities inflicted on Palestinians over the last sixty years by the racist jewish theocracy-including taking all of their homeland of Palestine by violence,ethnic cleansing and continuous war.

To your delight,there is not one single Arab/Muslim state that can be termed as an Islamic state-esentially all are totalitrian dictatorships-the closest to an Islamic model of government is the new and infant emerging liberal democracy in Turkey which replaced the Attaturk military and secular fascist regime.

1.6 billion Muslims are living in their homelands and not are occupying any one's land,nor have they travelled from the other end of the world to destroy and occupy any other country such as happened to Iraq-except the occupied and enslaved Palestinians-but what the hell are your "five million jews"doing in Palestine? They are occupying foreigners and they are land thieves,much like white supermicist white South African racists;your five million jews should simply go back to where they came from and rleinquish the land they stole-like apartheid South African racists(with a nuclear arsensl developed in cooperation with israel)and like French settlers and occupiers of Alegeria, your jews will have to leave,sooner or latter and the sooner the better;rembember the crusaders (11th-13th century),they were evicted after two centuries of their occupation of Palestine.

The Lion "Singh":

Well done Salama and this guy above called Garak, who penned a few lines above. Yep, find scapegoats any where and every where. Things have not changed and God knows when they will. Innocent Black men were arrested,tried and found guilty- only later to be found to be innocent and released. To those who call for totaliarian laws, I wonder what is their basis to act in inhumane ways. Compassion and mercy are bad words. Disrespect for human rights is the buzz word today. That is why I only have one champion and the belief in truth - IT IS GOD, yep he is my man. The rest of mankind, oh well????!!!!

david browning:

well, nice article ... but it fails to address a basic fact. while not all Muslims are terrorists, all terrorists are Muslims.

faced with such a reality, only common sense to consider Muslims as the group that originates the next batch of terrorists.

lees:

yo, i got 8 inches of equality for your muslim lovin ass right here

fred:

then i would suggest all of the "patriotic" muslims that this "correspondent" (spy) claims to know should contribute more to the information gathering efforts we need to keep new york from blowing up at the hands of these savages and less to charities that funnel money to terrorist organizations. we open our doors to these animals out of genrosity and this is what we get? some annoying blogger with an agenda telling us the correct protocol for investigating her friends? please wapo, get more foreigners like this to tell us how to defend ourselves. this is all very useful...

Q-bert:

Profiling works, despite the people who look down their noses at things like "Statistics" and "Proven results" I'm glad it exists, I don't care if some bleeding heart can't sleep at night because of it. If it gets results, and no one is hurt. Who cares?
I had to take my shoes off last time I got on an airplane, Somehow I survived...

INT WTF K - Milwaukee, WI:

Before I moved back to the heartland of America, I lived in the Middle East shortly after Gulf War the First. What I saw in that corner of the world was the usual public "I hate the US of A" with the private "Uncle Sam #1". Couple that with the loooooonnnng line at the American Embassy for travel visa only leads me to speculate that there are those who protest too much for a slight.

And what is that slight? Having 19 men of Middle Eastern descent cause mayham in NYC and WDC. Not seeing a condemnation by those of Middle Eastern descent of those who cause mayham in the misguided name of their religion. And the serious lack by US government officials to question those of Middle Eastern descent vs. my Polish-American grandmother who is 87 (which by way only her cooking could be classified as a WMD).

When I see those in the Middle Eastern community stand up and identify those criminals who want to harm others for their own personal gain, then I will be glad to support their cause against profiling.

raycharlescouldseethat:

what do you expect when the majority of muslims don't condemn terrorism?

Mark:

Frank said:

"The comments posted by readers represent the general racist view that is even worse than the dominant racist reaction to Japanese Americans in WWII: the nationalist-racist identification of Japanese Americans is not as broad as the religious-racist identification of Muslim-Americans!"

If you;re going to define racism this way, you do great harm and insult to victims of true racism. One does not have to postulate that any certain percentage of muslims are terrorists in order to come to the rational and fair conclusion that the best approach to surveillance is to concentrate on those whose observable characteristics make them more likely to be terrorists.

I live in the D.C. area, and I remember well the sniper incident several years ago. We all wanted those guys to be caught so badly, and at one time there was a report of a white van associated with the killings (erroneously, we eventually learned). The police understandably started stopping white vans and questioning the drivers.

Now do you think that this means that police had concluded that all drivers of white vans are killers? Do you think they even concluded that a larger percentage of white van drivers, as compared to the general population, are killers? Of course not. As far as they knew, there was one white van apparently involved in the killings, and and that was enough to make it reasonable and entirely appropriate to do what they did- narrow down the search according to the information they had.

You can disagree with this sort of profiling applied to people, if you like. You can argue that the price paid by those people is not worth the potential benefit of catching terrorists. I would disagree with that argument, but at least it has a certain amount of logical coherence, and you;re not re-defining words.

But you cannot say that such profiling is an indication of racism, unless you entirely re-define the term racism. Why would you do that, when there are true racists out there who need to be called out for what they are? You are muddying the waters and detracting from the arguments against them, by levying a term with such powerful connotations against people who are not in any way implying anything about the people being surveilled, other than they are a member of a group that is more likely than other groups to contain a terrorist.

I happen to believe that, and you are therefore equating me to someone who believes that my racial group is superior to one or more other racial groups, and that my group is justified in dominating them, or even possibly wiping them out. If your re-definition of the term carries the day, how will we be able to oppose the true racists?

And you say people who argue as *I* do are evidence of the dumbing down of America and the victory of emotion over logical argumentation? Do you hear yourself? Stop judging falsely and make a right judgment!

Rae Shelly:

Why is so hard for people of Muslim descent to understand that the perpetrators of 9-11, global suicide bombings, and beheadings of kidnapped Westerners and others DO have Arab or Muslim names? How are we to know who among them is friend or foe? Trust their words when we know the 9-11 killers carefully study and mimicked our customs and exploited our open society in caring out their heinous plot? Rather than criticize our democracy or blame a particular administration, Ms. Salma should be blaming those whose evil led to this web of suspicion. Ask me to choose between offending the Muslim community or erroring on the side of protection, and I'll chose protection every single time. I'll chose to be feared and respected over being liked.

california condor:

The unlettered "Loyal Bushies" on this blog who see nothing wrong with "breaking a few eggs make an omelette" are unaware that this is a Stalinist phrase used justify the Great Terror in the worst days of Soviet rule in Russia. American neoconservatives, who sprang from Marxism and Trotskyism, firmly believe that the end justifies the means, as did Soviet totalitarians. This is further confirmation that most Americans don't have the faintest conception of their Bill of Rights and constitutional guarantees of liberty. They seem willing gladly to surrender them for facile promises of a bit of security. This is precisely what Ben Franklin warned against. Just this week, for example, Americans gave up the Fourth Amendment. Previously they remained oblivious and mute as their right to due process and bans against torture went out the window. They have turned into the kind of cowards and shirkers that the Founding Fathers, who risked their all for freedom, would have roundly despised.

Hondo:

George Robertson : Ok Georgie why will history show this has been a successful program-- for Israel ? What do you mean ? Get it off your chest Georgie ! Media Jews caused the leak, huh Georgie ? Zionists in the government? What Zionist organizations want to expand Israeli settlements. Don't raise a red herring George. Give us the data George.

Hondo:

Asim : I was wondering when you would start piling on Israel. Look Asim, Muslims have killed and maimed more Jews, Christians, Hindus, and Buddists in one or two years than the Israeli army has killed terrorists in over 60 years. If you think about 5 million Jews in Israel are terrible, can you imagine what the rest of us think about the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world ? And why ? We are worried.Its not Israel that is apartheid and a theocracy, its Islamic nations with no separation of church and state; the impostion of religous law upon citizens and a world wide Muslim clan of "uuma " or" umma". Get on the Hamas forum with this crap!

richard morris:

GITMO detainees and Japanese internment detainees are similiar in that physical appearance was used to segment populations based on fear of misunderstood loyalties. No? GITMO detainees are feared as others who look like them committed 9/11 and other acts. The torture of GITMO detainees was attempting to understand plans for the next attack and the loyalties of these men. The detainees are assumed to be more loyal to muslim radicals, who want to kill Americans. Japanese detainees were feared to be loyal to the emperor of Japan, who ordered an attack on Hawaii. No?

It is always interesting to read how someone views the U.S. committment to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. History shows this is an evolving goal for most people.

The author of this post didn't write much about Native Americans nor African Americans. In the old West, Native Americans were systematically grouped and relocated onto Reservations -- the ultimate internment camp. During the founding of this country, Africans were kidnapped and sold as slaves to work the fields. Slaves were housed in plantations -- another form of internment camps.

A good read on The American Creed (life, liberty, happiness) is available. It is written by Forrest Church (see amazon.com)

George Robertson:

Because of excessive secrecy, we have no way of knowing if the US government's programs have targeted the "real" terrorists or just some wannabes led on by an informant- as seems to have been the case several times in those few instances where something leaked to the media. I still think that history will show that this was a very successful program - for Israel. Whether or not this was worth having the good name of the United States dragged through the sewer depends on how much you are willing to support Israel, I suppose. Those of us Americans who support an Israel living peacefully within its pre-1967 boundaries don't seem to be in the majority of the political class anymore, or if it is a majority of the politicians it's a very silent majority living in fear of retaliation from Zionist organizations bent on expanding Israeli settlements. Americans need to take back our own political system so that we can hunt down the real terrorists who attacked this county, instead of harassing people like the friends of this nice lady who happen to be Arabs.

Asim:

Vivian,
Well Done for an articulate position on this sensitive issue.

Asim:

Ice (and James Mcgraw and BPSCG),
Ice,U say:"The last time I checked, only radical Islamist extremists have been trying to turn US airplanes into firebombs..."

All 9eleveners werre criminals who happened to be Muslim and many among their victims in the WTC were also Muslim-but it does not follow that all 1.6 billion muslims including Arab/Muslim Americans, should be collectively suspected,condemened and harassed.

BPSCG, this cut/paste technique is false jewsih propagnada:I can give U a much longer lists of Israeli barbarities and atrocities including jewish terrorism:observe the jewish terrorist ganags that were lead by the likes of Menahem Begin-noble peace prize winner!!-,Yitzhak Shamir, Ariel Sahron and Yitzhak Rabin who was assassinated by a jewish terrorist-which terrorised Palestinians by ethinic cleansing;observe the jewish Apartheid racist system imposed on the dispossessed Palestinians;observe the 60-year jewish occupation of all of historic Arab Palestine;the aparttheid jewish theocracy in Palestine never ever in its 60-year history implemented one single UN resolution including 181,the very same coerced resolution that created it:because it devoured the would be Arab state according to 181-jewish terrorists even assassinated UN Envoy, Count Bernadout in Jerusalem in 1947;jewish terrorists expolded king David hotel in same period.The terrorist named Yitzhak Shamir, latter PM of israel,was the first to introduce boby traped cars in the Middle East.Over 12000 Palestinian men, women and children are being tortured in Israeli concentration camps without charges-their crime is resisting the barbaric and the longest occupation in modern history.

Asim:

Ice (and James Mcgraw and BPSCG),
Ice,U say:"The last time I checked, only radical Islamist extremists have been trying to turn US airplanes into firebombs..."

All 9eleveners werre criminals who happened to be Muslim and many among their victims in the WTC were also Muslim-but it does not follow that all 1.6 billion muslims including Arab/Muslim Americans, should be collectively suspected,condemened and harassed.

BPSCG, this cut/paste technique is false jewsih propagnada:I can give U a much longer lists of Israeli barbarities and atrocities including jewish terrorism:observe the jewish terrorist ganags that were lead by the likes of Menahem Begin-noble peace prize winner!!-,Yitzhak Shamir, Ariel Sahron and Yitzhak Rabin who was assassinated by a jewish terrorist-which terrorised Palestinians by ethinic cleansing;observe the jewish Apartheid racist system imposed on the dispossessed Palestinians;observe the 60-year jewish occupation of all of historic Arab Palestine;the aparttheid jewish theocracy in Palestine never ever in its 60-year history implemented one single UN resolution including 181,the very same coerced resolution that created it:because it devoured the would be Arab state according to 181-jewish terrorists even assassinated UN Envoy, Count Bernadout in Jerusalem in 1947;jewish terrorists expolded king David hotel in same period.The terrorist named Yitzhak Shamir, latter PM of israel,was the first to introduce boby traped cars in the Middle East.Over 12000 Palestinian men, women and children are being tortured in Israeli concentration camps without charges-their crime is resisting the barbaric and the longest occupation in modern history.

Lance Fox:

Vivian,

9/11 inconvenienced nearly 300 million people, exposed them to searches, delays, losses of income, and the petty tyranny of officials and semi-officials. Muslim Americans were subjected to more of this than the rest of us, because Muslims in America were responsible for 9/11. (I presume that you are not among the Muslims who blame Israel or the CIA as the perps. If you are, please say so! There would be more to write.)

It is unfortunate that Americans of Middle Eastern descent and American Muslims of African descent are so distinguishable among the rest of us. It makes it easier to profile Muslims. But to be frank, that profile is necessary until Lutherans from Scandinavia begin to commit terrorism on behalf of the 95 Theses.

All Americans owe Muslim Americans our thanks for putting up with all the guff they have been handed, for bearing the burden of their devotion to Islam and fidelity to country with courage and dignity. I'm grateful to you. May God bless you and bring these terrible days to a swift conclusion.

With respect,

Lance

Kevin Turner:

I think Ms. Salama touches on a series issues: Life in the post 9/11 U.S., equality, racism, discrimination, morality and hope. As diverse as these subjects are so too are the dialogues that surely will be forthcoming from Ms. Salama's readers. Meanwhile, I'd like to touch on one and that's HOPE. I am reminded of a line from a scene in Sergio Leone's 1984 film, Once Upon a Time in America. " This country's still growing up. Certain diseases, you're better off having when you're still young."

I admire your courage to be sentimental regarding the trappings of this country's moral compass and practice of exclusivity, but we need to realize that the flicker of hope offers an amber of resistance and agitation. And we both know that agitation has and continues to make valiant strides to crush any barriers that the powers that be could ever construct. Let us continue to agitate!!

Kevin Turner:

I think Ms. Salama touches on a series issues: Life in the post 9/11 U.S., equality, racism, discrimination, morality and hope. As diverse as these subjects are so too are the dialougues that surely will be forthcoming from ms. Salama's readers. Meanwhile, I'd like to touch on one and that's HOPE. I am reminded of a line from a scene in Sergio Leone's 1984 film, Once Upon a Time in America. " This country's still growing up. Certain diseases, you're better off having when you're still young."

I admire your courage to be sentimental regarding the trappings of this country's moral compass and practice of exclusivity, but we need to realize that the flicker of hope offers an amber of resistance and agitation. And we both know that agitation has and continues to make valiant strides to crush any barriers that the powers that be could ever construct. Let us continue to agitate!!

sobrevivir:

Ms. Salama: In Biological terms, there is a difference between genotype and phenotype. Phenotypically two of the candidates are particularly noticeable due to gender and ethnicity. However, genotypically they are both candidates. And in the United States, equality is merely a rhetorical term. The operant motive is profits.

tes:

I am bored with people talking about the logic of profiling 30 year old arabs Vs 80 year old grandmas. Please stop the foolish rhetoric about grandmas. I travel all the time and I have never seen a grandma getting pulled over. However I have seen many brown skin people (mostly are actually indians) getting extra scrutiny. Explain why you feel Arabs should be profiled. Understand ofcourse that majority of Arab Americans are christians, and that you really can't tell a 5'5" Saudi Wahabi from a 5'5" hindu Indian.

x2:

Apparently the qualifications one needs to write for WAPO's On Faith does not include the ability to think analytically or critically or to even write well.

All one has to do to write for this section is be a terrorist apologist.

With all the whining I read here from the various guest authors, it seems PostGlobal is slowly becoming a megaphone for terrorists.

Mark:

I'm of Italian descent, so I look Middle-Eastern. I am actually more comfortable getting on a plane where more attention and scrutiny is given to people who look like me than on one where they search white-haired old ladies so we can all brag about how committed we are to the concept of equality.

This has nothing to do with equality. When the police get a report that someone in a blue sedan just robbed the bank, should they search all cars in the interest of fairness? What is the mission of the police: to restrain criminals, or to give symbolic voice to a politically correct vision of equality?

Isn't it objective fact that people of a certain religion and a certain ethnic identity are the source of the vast majority of terrorist incidents? Then isn't the responsible thing to do, to maximize the protection of human life, to apply our finite resources in a way that is designed to have the best chance of catching and stopping the perpetrators?

It's unfortunate that mistakes are made, and I say that knowing that I could someday be the victim of one. But rather than blame America, as if this is somehow indicative of some fundamental defect in our society, how about laying the blame where it actually lies? On a group of people who deliberately blur the lines between civilians and combatants, who go to extreme lengths to co-opt appearances and hide the most dangerous weapons and plots by taking on the appearance of ordinary people doing ordinary things, emulating and impersonating the very people we all want to trust? Do you think THEY might be responsible for the unfortunate mistakes that are made and the innocent victims who suffer from them?

To insist on equality in surveillance is the height of ridiculousness, and is a policy that if followed will likely lead to the loss of innocent lives. It is irresponsible for you to suggest it, and I am being kind when I put it that way. Just as the terrorists count on people assuming that things are what they seem, they also count on people like you blaming the people who are responding to the murderers, however imperfectly, thereby co-opting you to aid and abet them, as you attack the ones who are defending us from the attackers. They need you to help foil the defender's attempts to narrow down the search, to force them to search everyone and everywhere, out of fairness, to lessen the chance of the defenders finding the attackers.


You, and all who think as you do, have not disappointed the terrorists.

colorado kool aid:

Those were scary times -- as are these (or so the Bush administration likes us to believe).

Sounds like you are not a believer. That may color your perception of not only the problem, but of the solutions as well.

I suspect you see as "not so random" the notion that Muslims or Arabs are being scrutinized with more care than others. That is an artifact of who the problem is and is no concern of mine. The proverbial 80-year old white lady -- so far -- does not deserve the same scrutiny as the "muslim sounding male under 30 travelling from Saudi Arabia" does. A cruel fact perhaps, but a fact nonetheless.

Do not equate more scrutiny with a nation that "doesn't love you back", but if you do, you will have to admit that the same logic has to apply to an American Muslim community and the non-Muslim community when 25% of young Muslims agree that jihad and suicide bombings are a legitimate political tool -- now that doesn't feel like the kind of love I want either.

Please stop making yourself a victim, for if you must, I will start feeling like a victim of Muslims everywhre and I don't think that speaks to "equality" either.

J Rhinehart:

It seems an injustice to penalize people just for having an Arab name, and it is. But the fact is that it was Muslims who attacked us, and they were welcomed here before 9/11. The same would be true if any other group had attacked, here or any other country.

"Equality" is a concept that I have thought about in the last few years, not because of 9/11, but because of racial inequalities. I started thinking that the concept is inapplicable to a large group of people. I am in favor of treating each & every person with respect and fairness, but to think that all people are equal in any other way just isn't true. We're not equal in any other way than being human. That's why we have trouble.

We can't create "equality". We can create 'liberty' and 'justice' - those depend on how we treat other people. To be 'equal' means to be the same. People are not all the same.

Anne_O_Nymous:

Food for thought: Had you been to a Middle Eastern country, you would find that people there are rather warm and welcoming, even of Americans - though they won't hesitate to criticize the Bush Administration. Your assertion that you "probably wouldn't even make it home alive" smacks of ignorance and prejudice.

Jeff:

I agree with Ms. Salama's concern and horror at watching good, innocent people being hurt irreparably through the mistakes of our intelligence and law enforcement authorities - this should be avoided whenever possible. However, I believe Ms. Salama also makes a common mistake in assuming that it is possible to somehow eliminate these mistakes by applying some sort of totally unbiased search criteria for intelligence information about suspicious activity.

The reality is that even totally unbiased investigation criteria for initiating a more intense, intrusive investigation into possible terror plots in the U.S. would - at this time - pull up more names of Islamic people than names of Christians or people of other faiths. That is a result of both the nature of our limited information and the reality of the threat at this time, unfortunately. Wrongly accused, investigated and disrupted people should be compensated for the harm done to them, as much as is possible.

Mjordanwizards:

Oh give me a break! Everyone knows that the majority of terrorist acts were done by radical islamics. Why not screen those who are more than likely to be the terrorists? Why waste time screening the 90 year old grandmas? The writer should be glad she's not hanging out in Afghanistan and being married off at age 12 to live a life of servitude like most islamic men would want of her. Until Al Qaeda and Bin Laden are done and over with, it is every muslim's responsibility to cooperate with the US government as it was SEVERAL of their OWN people who brought upon 9/11.

Frank:

The comments posted by readers represent the general racist view that is even worse than the dominant racist reaction to Japanese Americans in WWII: the nationalist-racist identification of Japanese Americans is not as broad as the religious-racist identification of Muslim-Americans!

The ignorance of most of the respondents about the most basic logical fallacies inherent in their arguments is also a reflection of the dumbing down of education in our country and in our neo-fascism, where emotions instead of reason govern actions and reactions! How can one logically infer from the fact that a few hundred, or even thousands, of Muslims are engaged in terrorism against the United States that over 1 billion people worldwide, and the entire Muslim-America community are somewhat associated with terrorism? Only a racist ideology that lumps all Muslims (and Arabs) together, like lumping all "black" people or "yellow" people together, justifies this kind of "reasoning."

Our country is currently seized by an intense racism fueled by those who proclaim that "Islam" is violent, or that it is because of Islam that some people are attacking us and thus "Islam" and all asosicated with it should be held accountable. This is the same argument of the deranged terrorists who lump together all "Americans" or "Christians" or "Jews" and are intent on demonizing them!

The fault is that of our politicans and our media (including many people writing for the Washington Post...) who depict a racist reality as the only viable alternative. And almost everyone is reduced by fear into the dmeonization of different people! There is no freedom, liberty, or equality in a country that treats Muslims and/or Arabs as potential suspects just because they are Muslim or Arabs! That is the same justification Hitler used to eradicate Jews, and we are no better than Hitler if we believe that we have the right to "investigate" Muslims and Arabs living in America because of who and what they are!!!


Ed:

Mrs. Salama .... As an immigrant from LatAm I share some of your concerns. But, I believe your concerns about the well being and the protection under the law of rights of the muslim americans in the US is missplaced. I wonder if you are as concerned about the status of millions of non-muslim (native of the Middle East) who for centuries have been treated as second class citizens in muslim lands. Like the several million Copts in Egypt, whose culture predates the arrival of the muslim hordes in the seventh century, and who are today still victims at the whims of their conquerors. Regards.

Dave Meadows:

"Those were scary times -- as are these (or so the Bush administration likes us to believe)."

Do you really believe that these are not scary times? Did 9/11 not open your eyes to what terrorists can and will do to civilian targets?
People get wrongly accused all the time, remember the security guard that was initially blamed for the Atlanta bombing? It is not pretty, or nice, but it happens to minorities and non minorities alike. Many of us have rallied around our Muslim or Middle Eastern friends to remind them that they are cared for and valued, that does not mean that I do not want our security apparatus to look very closely at a community that terrorists can blend in with ease.
Also, comparing the interment of Japanese Americans to the suspected terrorist at Gitmo is a real stretch.

Caesar Gott:

Ms. Vivian Salama seems not be be versed in preemptive surveillance , and, action. There are nearly seven BILLION people on earth. Of COURSE one doesn't "evenhandedly" select surveillance subjects from amongst these seven BILLION. One picks those who score the HIGHEST on the maggot meter. That leaves out a whole LOT of civilized human beings. get it? If not, it doesn't matter.

Paul:

Occasionally, I'll find a piece here in the Post that makes me think something like, "If they publish this garbage, I should go apply for an op-ed position right now."

I don't see such pieces often, but this piece -- and just about anything by Eugene Robinson -- certainly meets the criterion.

Other writers of this author's apparent ideological persuasion do a fine job. The problem with this article is that it lacks in substance. It's unconvincing. There's nothing "intelligent" about it.

"How many times in recent years have we seen someone's life -- often someone with a Muslim last name -- smeared all over the media as a "suspect" only to later find out that individual was cleared."

Inasmuch as my personal answer to this question would be "zero?", I would expect a such a rhetorical question like this to be followed by a long laundry list of extraordinary injustices done to Muslims in America. Instead, the author provides one anecdote in which an innocent man was charged and cleared. While the author likes to hint or imply that this Australian doctor was charged as a result of blanket racism or anti-Muslim bias or whatever, she does not suggest that her friend's name or religion was the primary reason he was charged. She never indicates, for instance, that authorities didn't have plenty of circumstantial evidence leading them to suspect the man's involvement. And so there's absolutely no reason to think that this instance is any different than the same sort of thing that happens to innocent people all over the Western world, regardless of their race or religion. They get charged with a crime. If the case is weak, then hopefully and theoretically, it won't stand up in court. That's exactly what happened. This experience is also hardly unique to Muslims. It is not a violation of anyone's rights. It is an unfortunate byproduct of a fallen world in which justice is necessarily imperfect. In this case, the system worked exactly as it was designed to work.

If "intelligence" is somehow inherently sinister and racist towards Muslims, the author has yet to explain how it is terribly different than the more basic work that police and law enforcement personnel carry out all over the world every day.

Also, the man was not "smeared." To describe the man as a "suspect," as she claims the media did, was completely accurate. He was a suspect. He was later cleared.

If long immigration lines and a lack of immunity from criminal prosecution is all that Muslims can complain about, this tells me that America treats Muslims pretty well -- apparently much better than their home countries as evidenced by the long lines at immigration, of which she complains so much.

Anonymous:

Let me guess, you're a liberal, aren't you? Poor suspected terrorists, we can't possibly offend them or hurt their feelings, can we? I mean, civil liberties are way more important than protecting our country from the scum of the earth trying to impose their backwards ideology upon the entire world.

Sanchos Rodrigez:

I don't know about catching terrorist but this can't be good for business. If I were overseas and knew my business call, trade secrets, was being monitored I would get a new service provider.

Sanchos Rodrigez:

I don't know about catching terrorist but this can't be good for business. If I were overseas and knew my business call, trade secrets, was being monitored I would get a new service provider.

MikeB:

Like it or not, polls of Middle Eastern immigrants demostrate that somewere between 10 and 25 percent of them think suicide bombing and other terrorist acts are "okay" in furthering their aims of getting rid of Israel and altering U.S. policies. It is just plain stupid to use politcial correctness to ban racial profiling when something is so obvious. So, "yes", let's track and watch ALL Muslims and ALL Middle Eastern immigrants, even though the majority are not terrorists. Likewise, over half of the Hispanics you see are ILLEGALS! Why on earth don't we ask for identification from these people when they are encountered by the police or other government agencies and arrested and deported if they don't belong here? Again, it's common sense. In the absense of common sense, we end up strip searching 80 year grandmothers at airports and wasting a lot of time and money.

HCP:

I think the author here has it backwards. She's basically complaining that U.S. security measures target Middle Eastern people unfairly, and that instead security should target everyone the same, irrespective of their group membership.

She says this because she's Middle Eastern and doesn't want to see her group face above-average scrutiny.

But the flip side of this is crucial: If we target all groups equally, as the author advocates, we are then unfairly punishing people in groups that present a very low risk of terrorism. Every time security shakes down some 75 year old white grandmother from Ohio, which they do simply to prove that they are "fair" as the author would define that concept, they are making low-risk Americans bear a burden they do not deserve.

It isn't "fair" to search and scrutinize people who present no security risk. But unless the author thinks we should simply abandon all security measures, this is exactly what she's saying we should do. I couldn't disagree more.

MLee:

I can see your point of wiew but i feel you're only looking at this situation not with the purpose of finding the truth objectively but before you even started thinking about your response to this topic, your view was already set that that the U.S is unjustly and randomly profiling muslims just for being muslims. I think there are people that are way too sensitive sometimes. They see Racism and discrimination everywhere when it has nothing to do with race or religion. I'm not saying it doesn't exist but it doesn't happen as often as people keep making it out. Its just something people have to deal with in order to protect this country. The Japanese internment camps happened like more than half a century ago. I don't think the general muslim population will have to worry about internment camps.

james mcgraw:

Gee... arabs are trying to blow us up. Then the arabs here wonder why we are targeting them. Outside of a few random incidences... give me an example of a white guy or a black guy trying to blow up a plane headed for Washington. You and the premise of this article... are so dumb. Tell the arabs to stop trying to kill us... maybe then the cops will leave you alone

James McGraw:

Want to be treated equally? Tell the Arabs to stop trying to kill us. Then maybe the cops will leave you alone

James McGraw:

Want to be treated equally? Tell the Arabs to stop trying to kill us. Then maybe the cops will leave you alone

RowerinVa:

As Judge Posner recent wrote, the Constitution is not a suicide pact. It would be irrational -- and certainly not Constitutionally required -- to focus antiterrorism resources in spots where terrorists are unlikely to be hiding.

The United States did not start a racist, religionist hate war. [In fact, at the time of the September 11 attacks, the US was not at war in or against a Muslim nation; quite the contrary, its most active military commitment was the defense of the ethnic Albanians, a Muslim people, against the Serbs, a Christian one.] But a religionist, largely racial war was declared against us. It is merely reality to recognize that fact for what it is.

There is a precedent for defeating terrorism, although on a smaller scale. In the 1950s and 1960s, white racist-religionists shot, bombed, and created an atmosphere of terror against African Americans. This was defeated by two forces: first, smart Federal law enforcement work focused on the community from which the bad folks came and in which they were sometimes sheltered; second, people of the bad folks' race and religion stood up, loudly, publicly, and effectively, to reject the evil and treat the bad folks as a personal and community responsibility to be corrected. On the first point, the FBI targeted whites -- do you seriously think they should have been giving African Americans equal scrutiny? On the second point, what are YOU doing, Ms. Salama, YOU yourself, to stand up, loudly, publicly, and effectively, to reject the evil and treat the bad folks as a personal and community responsibility to be corrected? Nothing, from what I can tell from Internet searches. Is this an unfair burden to place on you? Not at all. You have a unique ability to get a message out to the bad people that they may be willing to hear. Your country needs you to work for it. Please do, and start today.

BPSCG:

A chronology of some of the most destructive and infamous acts of Muslim terrorism:

4 September 1972 - Munich Olympic Massacre.
18 April 1983 - April 1983 U.S. Embassy bombing in Beirut, Lebanon. 63 killed.
26 February 1993 - World Trade Center bombing. 6 killed.
24 December 1994 - Air France Flight 8969 hijacking in Algiers by 3 members of Armed Islamic Group and another terrorist. 7 killed including 4 hijackers.
25 June 1996 - Khobar Towers bombing, 20 killed, 372 wounded.
7 August 1998 - 1998 United States embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya. 224 dead. 4000+ injured.
11 September 2001 - September 11, 2001 attacks 4 planes hijacked and crashed into World Trade Center and The Pentagon by 19 hijackers. Nearly 3000 dead.
13 December 2001 - Suicide attack on India's parliament in New Delhi. Aimed at eliminating the top leadership of India and causing anarchy in the country. Allegedly done by Pakistan-based Islamist terrorist organizations, Jaish-E-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Toiba.
3 March 2002 - Suicide bomb attack on a Passover Seder in a Hotel in Netanya, Israel. 29 dead, 133 injured
9 March 2002 - Café suicide bombing in Jerusalem; 11 killed, 54 injured.
7 May 2002 - Bombing in al-Arbaa, Algeria. 49 dead, 117 injured.
24 September 2002 - Machine Gun attack on Hindu temple in Ahmedabad, India. 31 dead, 86 injured.
12 October 2002 - Bombing in Bali nightclub. 202 killed, 300 injured.
16 May 2004 - Casablanca Attacks - 4 simultaneous attacks in Casablanca killing 33 civilians (mostly Moroccans) carried by Salafaia Jihadia.
11 March 2004 - Multiple bombings on trains near Madrid, Spain. 191 killed, 1460 injured. (alleged link to Al-Qaeda)
3 September 2004 Approximately 344 civilians including 186 children, are killed during the Beslan school hostage crisis.
4 February 2005 - Muslim militants attacked the Christian community in Demsa, Nigeria, killing 36 people, destroying property and displacing an additional 3000 people.
7 July 2005 - Multiple bombings in London Underground. 53 killed by four suicide bombers. Nearly 700 injured.
23 July 2005 - Bomb attacks at Sharm el-Sheikh, an Egyptian resort city, at least 64 people killed.
29 October 2005 - 29 October 2005 Delhi bombings. Over 60 killed and over 180 injured in a series of three attacks in crowded markets and a bus, just 2 days before the Diwali festival.
9 November 2005 - 2005 Amman bombings. Over 60 killed and 115 injured, in a series of coordinated suicide attacks on hotels in Amman, Jordan. Four attackers including a husband and wife team were involved.
7 March 2006 - 2006 Varanasi bombings. An attack attributed to Lashkar-e-Toiba by Uttar Pradesh government officials, over 28 killed and over 100 injured, in a series of attacks in the Sankath Mochan Hanuman temple and Cantonment Railway Station in the Hindu holy city of Varanasi.[71] Uttar Pradesh government officials.

And countless Hezbollah, Hamas, and al Qaeda terrorist attacks on Israel civilians and Iraqi civilians.

There have been a few more since this list was compiled, the most recent notable one being the car bomb at Scotland's Glasgow airport.

Oh dear, why are we so suspicious of Muslims? Well, when the Jehovah's Witnesses come knocking at my door and start quoting chapter and verse about how I need to be beheaded if I don't accept their version of the revealed truth, maybe I'll start being suspicious of them, too.

Will B. Free:

Most inane non-argument ever.

Suspects are determined by the possibility of whether they may have committed a crime or not. There is no use in looking for Islamic terrorists among little old white ladies that live in Peoria and go to church every Sunday. That is a waste of time and resources.

The Muslim community throughout the world should direct their anger over these intelligence “mistakes” at the ones in their community that have brought this on their own…the terrorists. Perhaps law enforcement’s strategy of using broad strokes in fighting terror will be impetus for those in the Islamic communities to police their own. Until the so called innocents in the Middle East and the world do this, they would be advised to keep their heads down. If the US could have prevented 911 by taking two hundred lives to get the handful of terrorist, so be it. If persons in those communities wish to not have the scrutiny of Western law enforcement and intelligence directed at them, then expose the terrorist and help bring them to justice. In this way there will be peace in the end for those not involved in terrorist activities.

Curious:

If I have hurt feelings I am willing to make the following changes :

Black --> white

Dogs--> Cats

Curious:

I I have hurt feelings I am willing to make the following changes :

Black --> white

Dogs--> Cats

Curious:

I am curious as to why profiling is all that wrong when it has proven to be a very effective tool for the law enforcement agencies until PCism destroyed that tool.

Let us say we live in a gated community that has several dogs living as pets. Then we find that a rash of dog bites begins and is caused by one strain of black dogs that are not pets but come from a far off black dog land. Meanwhile our children are getting bit and some are dying.

Would we not target the black dogs from that far off land within our gated community and prevent our children from getting huirt and dying? Would that not be the most effective way of quickly removing the immediate threat from the rabid black dogs?

Would we then, as the next step, not stop somehow the rabid black dogs from entering our gated community?


After the two above steps have been successfully taken we would most likely then go the dog black land and find out and eliminate the reason why some of the black dogs from that black dog land are coming to our gated community and attacking us and our children.

I am sure we would not start keeping the bad black dogs from the black dog land as pets in the hope they will stop biting us and our children. We would not indulge in nation building in that bad black dog land using the gated community's homeowner fees that are meant to mow the grass in common areas, plow the snow etc, would we?

Curious:

I am curious as to why profiling is all that wrong when it has proven to be a very effective tool for the law enforcement agencies until PCism destroyed that tool.

Let us say we live in a gated community that has several dogs living as pets. Then we find that a rash of dog bites begins and is caused by one strain of black dogs that are not pets but come from a far off black dog land. Meanwhile our children are getting bit and some are dying.

Would we not target the black dogs from that far off land within our gated community and prevent our children from getting huirt and dying? Would that not be the most effective way of quickly removing the immediate threat from the rabid black dogs?

Would we then, as the next step, not stop somehow the rabid black dogs from entering our gated community?


After the two above steps have been successfully taken we would most likely then go the dog black land and find out and eliminate the reason why some of the black dogs from that black dog land are coming to our gated community and attacking us and our children.

I am sure we would not start keeping the bad black dogs from the black dog land as pets in the hope they will stop biting us and our children. We would not indulge in nation building in that bad black dog land using the gated community's homeowner fees that are meant to mow the grass in common areas, plow the snow etc, would we?

Food for Thought:

To this article...

First - my encounters with Middle Eastern immigrants has been rather dismal - especially with the young men who seem to have backwards views on women. I would love to meet a patriotic Middle Eastern immigrant - so far, I have encountered immigrants who clearly don't seem to like Americans, American culture, and the thought of their sons or daughters dating an American would send them into a frenzy. Hopefully as I travel I will have the chance to meet some Middle Eastern immigrants described in this article.

Second - we are in a war with a Middle Eastern country, and unfortunately, the 9/11 disaster was conducted by Middle Easterners. If we were at war with Ireland, I would understand if people were warry of me with my red-hair and green eyes. I wouldn't like it, but I would understand. I would probably also try my hardest to demonstrate that I actually like America and Americans.

Finally - How would I be treated if I went to the Middle East? I probably wouldn't even make it home alive.

Rabbit One :

Just a criticism - the quality of your op-ed was sub-par. Other rather it exactly what we see plastered in every other publication. I prefer writers who can observe and feel the great flux of each debate - the more you think the more you realize how hard it is to committ to one vantage. In other words, I challenge you to write a follow up to this piece - see what you think in a matter of minutes.

Jeff:

When the moderate muslims care to actually do something about the extremists giving them a bad name, I will care more about the profiling going on. Until then, I find it rather fair that we look to who is currently most bent on doing us harm. You cannot have it both ways. The tacit approval that moderate muslims are bestowing upon the extremists through their lack of resistance and efforts to curb extremists, means that they should share the black eye that the extremists get. Quit bemoaning the darkness and turn on a light already.

Garak:

Alexis: Then why do airport screener stop and frisk old Swedish grandmothers? Can we count on Bush to use brains in screening people, like El Al does? Nope. Giving unlimited authority to a failure like Bush is a huge mistake. He failed without it, and he's failing with it. Of course, he's been doing this all along, and al Qaeda is none the worse for it.

Ice: Oh, boo hoo hoo yourself. Get real. Bush is planning to spy on not just radical Islamists, but also the rest of us. Including you. Bush spied not only on radical Islamists, but also political opponents. You're the egg Bush wants to crack. And while Bush cracks your egg, the real terrorists skate. Just like they did when Bush ignored the memo from Richard Clarke that blarred at him, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US." Just like they did when Bush gave bin Laden a Get Out Of Jail Free card at Tora Bora.

And now you and Bush want us to think he really wants to fight terrorism? Gimmee a break! This is just a power grab from the same people who think Watergate was perfectly OK. Fighting terror is just an excuse.

HCP:

This piece is full of bad reasoning and faulty logic. It's emotional, not analytical. Examples:

"We in the United States are witnessing a presidential campaign where the two Democratic front runners represent both women and African Americans, but have we really grasped the concept of "equality" in this post-9/11 world?"

I think we have. Are you saying we haven't? Ok, how about some proof.

"How many times in recent years have we seen someone's life -- often someone with a Muslim last name -- smeared all over the media as a "suspect" only to later find out that individual was cleared."

I've rarely if ever seen this. How about some examples to back up this broad contention?

"We saw it recently when a young doctor in Australia was named, and later cleared, as a suspect in last month's failed bomb attack in London. Authorities believed he had helped to coordinate the plot online. He has since been uprooted from his home in Australia"

Sounds like your gripe is with Australia. So where are the U.S. examples?

"I have watched people close to me, some of the most patriotic Middle Eastern immigrants who came to this country in search of the American dream, subjected to seemingly lump-sum security measures and not-so-random checks while traveling or moving about."

Ok, so your complaint about U.S. policy is that it is "seemingly" engaged in "not-so-random" security screening of Middle Eastern immigrants. Why doesn't this make sense? Islamic terrorism, which is our major security concern, is practiced by people from the Middle East and/or of Middle Eastern extract.

"It is a harsh reality to face when the country you love doesn't love you back. There's certainly nothing "intelligent" about it."

Would you have the government instead screen everyone equally, even given the presence of an unequal risk. That, my dear, would be unintelligent, by definition.


jake:

Vivian, you're such a cutie. I just wanted to point that out.

Ryan:

Vivian, you're wrong on a couple of points. First, please don't compare Guantanamo with the Japanese internment camps. While I don't like Guantanamo, it's not at all the same thing as the Japanese internment camps. For one, the people being held in Gitmo are not American citizens or permanent residents. In fact, they weren't in the U.S. at all when they were apprehended (hence why the Bush administration has insisted that they don't have the same legal rights as anyone arrested on U.S. soil).

Second, whatever problems you or I or anyone else may have with the Bush administration's zealous pursuit of terrorists (or overzealous, as the case may be), it is not an issue of "equality", particularly in any comparison with what women or blacks ever encountered in this country. The problem is that, quite simply, the biggest terrorist threat we face comes from Islamic-based terrorism. I'm sorry that the terrorists are not "equally" spread across religions, but that's not the government's fault. Moreover, Islam is not "equally" spread across all ethnicities and nationalities, but again, that's not the government's fault.

So, will more suspected terrorists of Islamic Arab origin be arrested compared to, say, suspected terrorists of Christian Icelandic origin? Yes, absolutely. Does that reveal some sort of bias? Only on the part of those choosing to be terrorists.

So, while we may have our significant doubts, qualms, and general outrages about the Bush administration's handling of many issues, the pursuit of terrorists as a problem of "equality" is just absurd and only serves to illustrate your ignorance and desire to inflame left-wing passions against the Bush administration. (And, by the way, I'm definitely left-of-center but I'm not impressed by your logically fallible arguments.)

Rabbit One :

Now look, I by no means support the heavy-handed spying and wire-tapping that the Bush Administration was apparently doing to protect U.S. citizens; however, we really have no one to thank except the Osama criminals for the current racial and ethnic profiling that is going on worldwide.

In this way, Osama and other terrorists have rained unwanted terror on the Arab American and immigrant communities. When the terrorists continue to encourage people to stap on bombs under their dresses, of course, we are going to run in a bunch of fear towards certain races and peoples. it is hugely sad. but it is in no way shape or form America's problem - Osama caused this crap - therefore, we need to pull out of Iraq and go full force against him until he is publicly brought to justice.

Jonn Lilyea:

I think it's pretty disingenuous to make statements like "people close to me, some of the most patriotic Middle Eastern immigrants who came to this country in search of the American dream" and then the only example you provide of it actually happening is an Austalian doctor in a Scottish case. Yet you want to blame America.

And there are telling statements like "Those were scary times -- as are these (or so the Bush administration likes us to believe)." and "although a devil's advocate might draw parallels with Guantanamo Bay".

So I get the point that you're stretching to make - American is bad and Bush is evil - not odd that Washington Post would see fit to highlight that opinion in this discussion.

I see Arabs everyday walking the streets of the nation's capitol, riding public transportation completely unharrassed. In fact, I know of only two cases in this country where your so-called "inequality" actually happened. Yes, I know it's an urban myth now that Americans treat Arabs badly, but I've yet to see or read about many real examples. Funny, huh?

And it's not really "inequality". It's erring on the side of caution - 9-11 taught us that. Extremist Islamists taught us that. And your idea of "equality" is more a European (French Revolution/Marxist) thing anyway. American equality is the equality of opportunity, not the State-supported equality of condition.

As for me, I'd like to see more Arabs and especially CAIR denounce terrorism committed against this country and it's citizens - now, that'd be equality.

pappy:

I kind of wonder what the qualifications are for being a forgein correspondant. Comparing gitmo with the detention of Japanese American citizens is naive in the extreme. Those whose values allow them to kill innocent American civilians have no reasonable expectation of equality under American justice. Islamic barbarians have to be delt with harshly in order to defeat their vision of a repressive, totalitarian world . Its us or them, Salama.

Rabbit One :

Now look, I by no means support the heavy-handed spying and wire-tapping that the Bush Administration was apparently doing to protect U.S. citizens; however, we really have no one to thank except the Osama criminals for the current racial and ethnic profiling that is going on worldwide.

In this way, Osama and other terrorists have rained unwanted terror on the Arab American and immigrant communities. When the terrorists continue to encourage people to stap on bombs under their dresses, of course, we are going to run in a bunch of fear towards certain races and peoples. it is hugely sad. but it is in no way shape or form America's problem - Osama caused this crap - therefore, we need to pull out of Iraq and go full force against him until he is publicly brought to justice.

Rabbit One :

Now look, I by no means support the heavy-handed spying and wire-tapping that the Bush Administration was apparently doing to protect U.S. citizens; however, we really have no one to thank except the Osama criminals for the current racial and ethnic profiling that is going on worldwide.

In this way, Osama and other terrorists have rained unwanted terror on the Arab American and immigrant communities. When the terrorists continue to encourage people to stap on bombs under their dresses, of course, we are going to run in a bunch of fear towards certain races and peoples. it is hugely sad. but it is in no way shape or form America's problem - Osama caused this crap - therefore, we need to pull out of Iraq and go full force against him until he is publicly brought to justice.

George Albert:

Not all Muslims are terrorists, but by a very large margin, most of the terrorists are Muslim. It would be idiotic to discount that fact when searching for terrorists. If someone robbed your neighbor's house and 10 people saw the person escape and they all saw that the person was white, and if the police were picking up black people as suspects, do you think you would be outraged? Of course. Checks should not be random because of fear of offending someone. Check should be made based on facts and information and if it is a fact that most of the terrorists are Muslims, then that facts must be used when looking for suspects.

By the way, Guantanamo bay is primarily filled with people that were picked up on the battlefield. And 20 of them that we have foolishly let go because of political correctness have went on to murder more people. Maybe you should speak to family members of the people that were murdered and see how they feel about having let these Muslim terrorists out of prison.

Ice:

Oh boo hoo. The last time I checked, only radical Islamist extremists have been trying to turn US airplanes into firebombs, turn speedboats into battering rams against warships, and otherwise pledged to destroy our very existence. I dont doubt that its not the best time to be a muslim american, but I would have my government protect me no other way. And if it happens to crack a few eggs making the omlet, so be it.

Henrietta:

The comparison of GITMO to the WWII Japanese internment camps is way off base. There are no U.S. citizens being held at GITMO, so the concept of equality under the laws of the U.S. wouldn't apply to GITMO detainees like it should have to Japanese internment campers.

alexis:

Equality doesnt equal stupidity.

Last I checked, old Swedish grandmothers were not of the kind threatening to blow us all up.

bender:

"where do we draw the line between policing global communications and unequal, unjustified (and sometimes undignified) surveillance?"


We should draw that line where policing global communications becomes unjustified, impractical, and unproductive. Limited resources must be directed toward possible sources of terror, so surveillance will always be "unequal". If around the globe, large numbers of Ronald McDonald worshipping restaurant employees share a violent,supremist ideology hellbent on murdering or subjugating non-patrons, then their transatlantic communications demand scrutiny. This straw man argument may seem "undignified" to some, but it parallels reality far better than comparing G-Bay to WW2 Japanese internment camps.


James:

I've noticed lately that the same people being accused of terrorism and blown out of proportions in the media often end up with a weak case and eventually have their case dropped. For example, James Yee of the US Army. I also think the Padilla case is about to be dropped or become a big embarassment due to the lack of solid facts against him. There is Imam Jamil Al-Amin (formerly known as H. Rap Brown) who was accused of killing a police officer. His accuser said the killer was a man with blue eyes and 5'7" in height. Yet Imam Jamil Al-Amin is 6'5" black man with brown eyes. There was a lawyer who was falsely accused by the FBI of supporting terrorists (I believe two years back). The lawyer ended up getting millions of dollars for being falsely accused. In some instances the terrorism charges can be justified, but I'm seeing more and more that most of the terrorism charges are knee-jerk reactions and not necessarily based on fact.

PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.